Coming into the season, the Saints had plenty of distractions that could get in the way of focusing on the task at hand and, according to interim coach Aaron Kromer, the team hasn’t done a good job of handling them during an 0-3 start to the season.
Quarterback Drew Brees preached that the team couldn’t afford to be distracted by things like coach Sean Payton’s absence after the opening loss to the Redskins. Based on a tweet he sent after Monday night’s refereeing debacle, Brees hasn’t quite moved on from the league’s decision to suspend Payton and others but that’s not stopping him from telling his teammates that it is time to turn the page.
Mike Garafolo of USA Today reports that Brees gave a speech to the Saints offense on Wednesday designed to send a message that it is time to stop making excuses and start playing better football. He also declined some of the interview requests that he regularly accepts in order to make it clear that the only focus on anyone’s mind in New Orleans should be getting better on the field.
“The message was you have to find a way for you to play better,” tackle Zach Strief said of Brees’ speech. “Don’t look outside of you, don’t point at another guy, don’t look for the answer anywhere but inside yourself.”
There’s nothing wrong with a renewed sense of urgency, although it is hard to imagine that the Saints defense has given up the most yards of any team in the league and 34 points a game just because there have been distractions floating around the team. Brees might not have been addressing that unit, but their play is going to have a lot to do with determining whether or not the Saints can turn things around the rest of the way.
New Orleans will get their first chance to prove that they can right the ship against the Packers, a team that’s had to battle some distractions of their own this week.